Cape Town to set up disaster operations HQ for water crisis

Cape Town to set up disaster operations HQ for water crisis
People collect water from a communal tap at an informal settlement near Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, as a harsh drought may force South Africa's showcase city of Cape Town to turn off most of its taps. While the city urges people to restrict water usage, many living in poor areas already have limited access to water, and the day that the city runs out of water, ominously known as "Day Zero", moves ever closer for the nearly 4 million residents. (AP Photo)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s drought-stricken city of Cape Town says police and military would help secure some 200 water collection sites if authorities must turn off most taps on what they call “Day Zero,” a date currently projected to fall in the first half of April.

The city plans to open a disaster operations center Monday to prepare for the possible tap closure that it says would have a catastrophic impact on South Africa’s second-biggest city. Cape Town says hospitals, key economic areas and densely populated areas with a higher risk of disease would be exempt from a tap cut-off.

City authorities say residents can avoid “Day Zero,” slated for April 12, by each using no more than 50 liters (13 gallons) daily until alternative sources of water are arranged.